Rory lay in her bed, her mind consumed with memories of the past week. Every time she
thought about Jess, her body remembered what it felt like when he touched her, and her
face flamed. She was completely avoiding him in public out of fear that her face would
give them away. Fortunately her mother generally avoided the topic of Jess, and he
hadn't been around much when they'd gone to the diner. She figured he was keeping his
distance for the same reasons she was.

Rory realized she wasn't going to get any sleep; her body was too bothered to relax. She
crawled out of bed and pulled on shoes, then climbed out her window and headed to the
bridge. She consciously repressed the hope that he might have had the same idea. She
was just going for a walk to help herself relax and sleep. But when she reached the bridge
and didn't see him, she suddenly felt very tired. She walked over to the edge where
they'd had the picnic and sat down.

Jess watched her as she approached the bridge, curling his lips faintly when he saw
disappointment change her posture. 'She wanted me to be here,' he thought. He slid out
from the shadow of the tree and crept quietly toward her, stopping when he reached the
edge of the bridge. He assumed his familiar slouch, hands in his pockets, and pursed his
lips into a wolf whistle. He sensed rather than saw her smile, and he moved to sit behind
her, pulling her in between his legs.

"Hey." he whispered into her ear. "Whatcha doin' out here so late?"

"I snuck out," she whispered back. "I was hoping I'd find you."

"Looks like you got lucky." He wrapped his arms around her waist and snuggled her
closer against his chest. They sat there in companionable silence for a little while, until
Rory spoke.

"I like it when you just hold me like this."

"Mm-hmm." She felt his lips brush her hair.

"That means there's more than just passion between us, doesn't it? I mean, I wouldn't
want to just sit with you if all I wanted was to get you naked."

Jess wasn't sure his heart was still beating. "Probably not."

"And the other day, when Luke caught us, I didn't really care that he knew."

Now Jess's heart was racing. "Yeah, he was cool about it."

"And when you were in my room that night, I wished you could just stay and hold me
while I slept."

Jess wondered if he could pinch himself without taking his arms from around her and
without her noticing.

"And I'm really kind of tired of having to avoid you in public."

Jess snorted. "Yeah."

"S-so…" her voice trailed off.

"Yeah?" He held his breath.

"So I think I'd better talk to Dean and my mother tomorrow."

Jess exhaled sharply and went completely still. Rory felt him stiffen and panicked a
little, twisting in his arms to see his face.

"Jess? What's wrong? I don't have to…" Rory saw his expression and her panic
increased. "What is it? I'm sorry—if you don't want…"

He cut her off, grabbing her harshly to him and pressing his mouth to hers more
aggressively than he ever had before. His forcefulness shocked her and she started to
resist, then suddenly she realized he was claiming her and she relaxed in his arms. The
world tilted as she realized how much he'd been holding back before, and she gave
herself over to his possession, returning his kisses and trying to convey how much she
shared the emotions he was finally showing her.

Jess eventually pulled away from her lips, burying his head in her shoulder but barely
relaxing his grip around her body. She caressed his back and smoothed his hair, gently
rubbing her cheek against the crown of his head. She wanted to soothe the tumult of
emotions, but when she felt the cool dampness of his tears against her throat her own
feelings overwhelmed her and tears pricked at her eyes.

Jess moved back to look at her, clearly struggling for control. "I was sure you were going
to pick him." He inhaled deeply and blinked deliberately. "I didn't even let myself think
about…" A self-deprecating smile played over his lips. "I just tried so hard to prepare
myself for what it would feel like when you stopped wanting to touch me…I was totally
unprepared for this."

"How could you not have seen it, Jess?" Rory squinted at him, as if trying to see inside
him. "How could you not understand that when I touched you…"

Jess shook his head. "I still can't believe that you're choosing me." His face suddenly
relaxed as he remembered something. "The other night…in your room. You said…"

"I love you, Jess. I know it's too early to say it…"

But he had pulled her back into his arms, lifting her and laying her down on the bridge,
sliding his body fully against hers and capturing her lips in a caress of passion and
tenderness as he finally opened his heart completely and let her in.